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Overseeing Care of a Nursing Home Patient

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:00pm

Those of us who have had family members or close friends in a nursing home can give many accounts of less than adequate care. No matter how carefully you check out a nursing home there are many things that could be greatly improved. One of the main problems is that most nursing homes are run for profit, so any way the management can skimp on services, the more money they make.

Medical care, too, can be less than desirable or sometimes just plain bad. An article written by Jane Brody in the October 6, 2009 New York Times suggests hiring a geriatric case manager. That sounds fine but it has two problems. Most people don't have the funds to do this and these case managers are few and far between. Ms Brody  cites the Web site of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Case Managers at It would be important to do a detailed background check on a case manager's credentials if you plan to hire one.  I have  known cases where someone took over the care of an elderly individual with dementia and convinced him or her to sign a will leaving everything to the individual.

Unfortunately, the doctors who will visit nursing homes often just make a quick in and out visit and spend little time going over the patient's chart and sometimes don't even bother to actually see the patient. If they make a note in the chart, then they can charge for the visit. Also states such as California require only a monthly visit which is just plain wrong. You cannot care for a patient in a nursing home by visiting just once a month. I have had teenage patients with terminal illnesses in nursing homes and made daily visits. Sometimes even two visits a day were necessary.

As a family member or even a good friend you can insist that better care be received if it is inadequate. The "squeaky wheel does get the grease" and if the nursing home personnel know you are watching, your loved one or close friend will get better care.

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